Employee Travel Claims (EPA)

AIMD-96-124R: Published: Jul 2, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 1996.

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An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official requested that GAO give its opinion on whether EPA could eliminate supervisor approval of staff travel vouchers if alternative controls that provide the same level of assurance were implemented. GAO noted that: (1) the new EPA travel system would replace the supervisor's approval for travel authorization, ensure that the trip was necessary, and limit the expense amounts claimed; (2) under the new system, each travel voucher will be checked to determine whether the amounts claimed are reasonable and any regulation has been violated, and if irregularities are encountered the system would stop further processing of that voucher; (4) the proposed system would also check to ensure that it was functioning properly, that claims were adequately supported by documentation, and that the travel actually took place; (5) the new system's electronic signature system does not comply with National Institute of Standards and Technology standards to ensure data integrity; and (6) EPA could minimize the risk of irregularities and errors in the new system by verifying that authorized trips were actually taken prior to payment, implementing an effective electronic signature generation and validation process, and reviewing the system during annual internal control reviews under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act.

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